It all starts with an essay. I'm not an admissions counselor, so I'm not sure how much it figures into the acceptance process, but we all begin our college careers with an entrance essay. There's a different topic every year, but ultimately it's supposed to tell the school something about ourselves. From Junior High, up to our Senior year in High School, we're given framework and guidance on this elusive and complex skill. And then, in our freshman year of college, we're asked to start over.
Writing has remained a perpetual challenge for me across my life. I won't be as bold to say that this statement is a result of perfectionism, or modesty (I'll let you be the judge if you want). The act of taking my thoughts and transcribing them, via keyboard or pen, is still one of the most frustrating and tantalizing things that I consort with on a daily basis. The First-Year Seminar class that I took the fall of my freshman year really gave me an insight on how much I would need to grow over the next three, and how mountainous the task of mastery would be. My freshman year was a long montage of me shedding any overconfidence I had in my academic abilities. By no means was I failing classes, but that first year made the contrast betweeen high-school and college incredibly sharp. I gained a new seriousness about what I was looking at. Completing a paper was no longer just an act of tipping a stone at a precipice to roll your way into a decent grade; you had to put your shoulder to its edge and push it all the way to the peak before setting it free.
Depending on your passion, you'll be honing a certain brand of composition. The direction a Lit major might pursue in a piece would be much different from the way I might organize a research report. But one objective transcends every style: clarity. Your voice, whether it be scientific or emotional, ultimately strives to convey an idea and bring it into communicable reality. THIS IS HARD.
This weekend I've been redacting the last draft of a manuscript I've been working on all summer. I'm also starting to formulate ideas on how I want to craft a personal statement for my applications to graduate school. Both of these things have me circulating back towards the same thoughts. The education one recieves in college towards writing is not really something you measure in terms of achievement. You don't leave with a set of keys; you're given a pair of shoes. It's frustrating, but having experiences where you're humbled truly gives you perspective wherever you land. I've had three years to appreciate the patience (and yes, wisdom) of my teachers in their instruction.
College has frequently showed me the truth in many adages. One of these is that there are few moments in which we are conferred something of value with minimal effort. My education has given me a path; it'd be a waste if I decided not to walk.
Andrew is a senior psychology major from Boise, Idaho.